THE USE OF PURE NICKEL FOR COINAGE
Various metals and alloys have been suggested or used for the manufacture of coins of small denominations, but recently pure nickel has become a coinage material. From a statement recently made in an Austrian paper it would appear that while nickel has been used to a limited extent for coins, its employment in this direction is increasing. The following taken from the Oest. Zeits. fur Berg und Huttenwesen explains the situation:
“The increased cheapness of nickel, owing to the large output of the Canadian mines, is leading to a more extended use of this metal. Only lately it was mentioned that the French Government proposed to use 400 tons in nickel coinage. Austria, it seems, is about to follow her example.
“At a recent meeting of the Austro-Hungarian Parliament, says Oberbergrath Ernst, it was proposed to issue 10 and 20 farthing pieces of pure nickel and I and 2 farthing pieces of bronze. After mentioning several alloys that have been tried and found wanting, among others the “packfong,” containing 6 per cent. of silver coined in Switzerland in 1860, he instances an alloy of 25 per cent. nickel and 75 per cent. copper as one which experiments have proved, with one exception, to be suitable for small coin. This alloy is cheap, durable and hard to counterfeit. Its hardness, compared with that of copper, is 3 to 2. It can only be coined with powerful and well constructed machinery, and the impression is sharp and clear. The one fault to be found with it is that while bright when new, it soon becomes dull and gives the offensive odor of copper. With the exception of Germany, all the large countries have ceased to coin this alloy.
“Nickel is especially suitable for small coins on account of its cheapness, durability, sharpness of impression, and, most important of all, its lasting brightness; but until a process for manufacturing pure nickel was devised at the Berndorfer Metallfabrik the metal could not be coined on account of its brittleness. In I880-I88I Switzerland commenced the coinage of 20 rappen pieces of pure nickel, the dies being furnished by Krupp, of Berndorf. Krupp also furnished the plates for Mexico and Servia for their copper-nickel coins. While the former coinage of copper-nickel in Switzerland, Mexico and Servia took but 200,000 kilos (440,000 pounds), the proposed coinage of Austria will require not less than 1,050,000 kilos of pure nickel (2,310,000 pounds), and that of Hungary 450,000 kilos (990.000 pounds).”
[Apparently, the author of this article, from his remark about all the large countries having ceased to coin cupronickel. does not consider our great and glorious country within the category of even Switzerland. Our Government is still coining the five-cent pieces from cupro-nickel (copper 75 per cent. and nickel 25 per cent).
Krupp, of whom he speaks as the manufacturer of pure nickel, is not the late Herr Krupp of steel fame, but of Bernsdorf, a suburb of Vienna, Austria. We are informed. however, that he is a relative of the steel manufacturer. The Bernsdorf works is one of the largest brass and copper works in Europe.—EDITOR.
Source: The Metal Industry - February 1903